When it comes to “Cloud Atlas”, there are two things for certain. 1.) By now, there are hundreds (maybe thousands) of opinions about it circulating the blogosphere. 2.) Here’s another…
The 2004 novel of the same name, penned by David Mitchell, should act as ample warning/solicitation to any moviegoer casually strolling into the theater this weekend and the weeks and months that follow. This is no mere tale. This is no mere film to be casually consumed and forgotten as the credits roll and you leave the theater.
Mitchell’s story, from which Lana and Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer have drawn the screenplay for “Cloud Atlas”, crosses a mind-boggling distance of more than 500 years. Bare this in mind. After all, some films barely manage to hold their audience’s attention when telling the story of a weekend’s worth of events. The staggering accomplishment that is the mere existence of “Cloud Atlas” as a film should be not only be acknowledged but celebrated. Or, at least mentioned in a thousand blogs and tweets across the whole of Internetdom.
Some will find “Cloud Atlas” mentally exhausting, slow, or just plain distracting with its use and reuse of the same actors across the centuries. Since the bulk of the cast, led by Tom Hanks and Halle Berry (featuring Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon, Jim Sturgess, and Jim Broadbent), appear as different characters through the span of the movie, undoubtedly, people will find themselves playing “find the celebrity”. But, the film is packed with more than just great production values, character design, costumes and prosthetic make-up awesomeness. The film’s underlying threads of consequence, human kindness and cruelty are timeless and speak to even larger themes about the meaning of life.
Where “Cloud Atlas” seems to falter is also where it can succeed – in its pure, unapologetic ambitious creativity. I doubt anyone could (or would want to) successfully argue this hasn’t been sorely lacking in the recent offerings of Hollywood/mainstream cinema. Its size, its scope, its outright grandness can be simultaneously jaw-dropping and numbing with a run time coming in just under 3 hours (2 hours 43 minutes according to rottentomatoes.com). Somehow, strangely, “Cloud Atlas” manages to wrangle your attention by bouncing from century to century, character to character, and event to event, refusing to leave you with any one particular character, or set of characters, for too long. It’s a beautiful tangle of comedy, drama, thriller and sci-fi genres.
Without gushing, I’d definitely say “Cloud Atlas” is worth the price of admission. Don’t wait to see “Cloud Atlas” until it releases on DVD. A story this large deserves to be seen on the big screen the way it was intended – kid kicking the back of your chair, lady trying to open a bag of licorice (yes, I’m talking about you), guy updating his Facebook status to read “I’m in Cloud Atlas and it ROCKS!” or not.
Explore more –
Mediocrity is the New Genius Blog: Hanks, Berry lead “Cloud Atlas” through the Centuries
Official site: Cloud Atlas online
Watch the HD trailer: Cloud Atlas HD trailer